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From Football To Fame: 8 Celebrities Who Almost Became Professional Players

We see these celebrities on TV or recognize them from the radio, but you probably didn't know that many of them almost became professional footballers. These eight famous individuals may found success in other areas, but from time-to-time they still lace up their boots and play a game of footie. Keep reading to find out how these celebrities went from football to fame. 

Celebrities Who Almost Played Professional Football

1. Gordon Ramsay

2. Jon Stewart

3. Louis Tomlinson

4. Chad Ochocinco

5. Rod Stewart

6. Julio Iglesias

7. Steve Nash

8. Sean Connery

Keep scrolling for pictures and information about each celebrity footballer. And follow The18 for more football lists:

Gordon Ramsay
Famous celebrities who almost played professional football: Gordon Ramsay and David Beckham

Gordon Ramsay and David Beckham

@JustJared |Twitter

Imagine if Gordon Ramsay took his temper out of the kitchen and used his aggressive energy on the football pitch. Before spending all his time in the kitchen, Ramsay gave the beautiful game a shot.

Growing up in England, Ramsay played football for Warwickshire U-14s, which eventually led to an opportunity he couldn’t refuse. He trained with the Glasgow Rangers for a few months but then unfortunately got injured. At the young age of 19 he chose food over football. Although it would have been fun to see Gordon Ramsay on the field, the popular chef made a career out of yelling at people on "Hell’s Kitchen." So, we thank him for the entertainment. He did pair up with David Beckham in 2013 to open a restaurant in London called the Union Cafe. 


Jon Stewart
Famous celebrities who almost played professional football: Jon Stewart college soccer picture

Jon Stewart played soccer for the College of William and Mary

@Spurs_US |Twitter

“My college career was waking up late, memorizing someone else’s notes, doing bong hits, and going to soccer practice.” Jon Stewart told New York Magazine in 1994.

Before The Daily Show and before The Jon Stewart Show the hilarious host was getting his degree at The College of William and Mary in Virginia, where he also played Division 1 college soccer. After graduating he traded his cleats for a coaching position at Gloucester High School. Obviously, he ended up switching career paths, but when asked about his soccer days he quotes, “I was known as the little guy by the sideline, otherwise known as wing.”

Louis Tomlinson
Famous celebrities who almost played professional football: One Direction's Louis Tomlinson

One Direction's Louis Tomlinson

@Charity_Today |Twitter

Whether he is on stage or on the field, Louis Tomlinson has girls screaming his name. The teenage heartthrob is known as a member of pop boy band One Direction. Back in 2013, he signed on a non-contract basis with his hometown team the Doncaster Rovers, which he states was a dream come true. We’ve seen the young celeb appear in a variety of charity soccer matches showing us that he has the skills to pursue a soccer career. We keep our fingers crossed but, for now, no one’s complaining about his decision to conquer the music world. 

Chad Ochocinco

Back in 2013, Chad Ochocinco tried out another kind of football – the football you play with your feet. The six-time Pro Bowl wide receiver returned to his high school roots of playing soccer during the 2011 NFL Lockout.

Even though he hasn’t played since 10th grade he found himself training with Sporting Kansas City of Major League Soccer. He was lucky enough to play with the team in a few scrimmages but unfortunately he did not make the final cut. “You know what, if I was able to get that trial with Sporting KC now, I would make the team. My touch and my skill has come back. I hadn’t played football in the past five years and I’ve been playing back on the pitch the past five years” He explained in 2016. Keep practicing Chad, we believe in you. 


Rod Stewart
Famous celebrities who almost played professional football: Rod Stewart playing soccer

Rod Stewart playing soccer.

@UltClassicRock |Twitter

Rod Stewart wasn't always interested in being a musician; he originally wanted to be a soccer player. Stewart grew up in a football loving family in London. His father played on a local team as well as managed a few, but Stewart was the most talented footballer in the family. He played for the Middlesex Schoolboys, where he was named captain. Stewart was determined to become a professional footballer. In 1960, he went to tryout for the Third Division club, Brentford FC. He revealed that he never signed to the club and that the club never contacted him after his tryout.

In his 2012 autobiography he wrote, “Well, a musician’s life is a lot easier and I can also get drunk and make music, and I can’t do that and play football. I plumped for music…they’re the only two things I can do actually: play football and sing.” We are very happy that music worked out for you! 

Julio Iglesias
Famous celebrities who almost played professional football: Julio Iglesias Real Madrid

Julio Iglesias was the goalkeeper for Real Madrid.

@defcentral |Twitter

Before Julio Iglesias became a best-selling Latin artist, he was balancing soccer and law school. He went on to graduate law school and play professional soccer for Real Madrid.

Yes, you heard that right; Iglesias once spent time as Real Madrid’s goalkeeper. Sadly, his soccer career was cut short after being involved in a car accident. The accident smashed his lower spine and permanently weakened his legs making it difficult to continue his soccer lifestyle. While spending the majority of his time in the hospital, a nurse came to his rescue and handed him a guitar. That was the moment Iglesias discovered his musical talent and started writing songs. Nothing beats a happy ending. 

Famous celebrities who almost played professional football: Steve Nash
Famous celebrities who almost played professional football: Victor Wanyama, Steve Nash and Christian Eriksen

Victor Wanyama, Steve Nash and Christian Eriksen

@titrespresse |Twitter

In 2005, Steve Nash explained that he could have played soccer professionally if he had focused his time on it. Instead, he chose basketball. Nash grew a strong interest in soccer after watching his father play professionally. Even though the Canadian player went on to be an eight-time NBA All Star and play for the Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks, and the Los Angeles Lakers, soccer has always had a special place in his heart. Steve Nash often spent his offseason in New York City, and when he did, he spent his time training with the New York Red Bulls.

The basketball player confessed he has not played since retirement, and today he consumes more soccer than any other sport. Over the past nine years, Nash has organized and hosted a charity soccer game in NYC. Many NBA players and soccer stars have joined and supported Nash’s NYC charity. “Obviously they’re completely different sports-one’s with your feet, one’s with your hands – but as far as spacing, connectivity with your teammates, movement, passing, defending, there are similarities,” Nash told Sports Illustrated. “I probably wouldn’t have been an NBA player if I didn’t bring a unique perspective born in soccer to the game of basketball.” Lucky for us we live in a world where you can watch and enjoy both sports.

On January 5, 2016 it became known that Nash was part of a group that purchased a $21 million stake in the Spanish club RCD Mallorca. Even after retirement, it's good to see Steve Nash happy and balancing both his passions. 

Sean Connery
Famous celebrities who almost played professional football: Sean Connery could have played for Manchester United.

Sean Connery almost played for Manchester United. He chose to pursue acting. 

@NatYKorol |Twitter

Before he became James Bond, he was a footballer. Sean Connery's football career started at a young age when he played for Bonnyrigg Rose. Connery had the choice between becoming a professional footballer or an actor and, even though he was fascinated with the sport, he chose acting.

Before being completely sold on acting, Connery played in a soccer match against a local team. Manchester United manager Sir Matt Busby happened to be scouting the game and sparked an interest in young Connery. Busby immediately offered Connery a contract after the game, which Connery declined in order to pursue his own dream of becoming an actor. He recalls, “I realized that a top-class footballer could be over the hill by the age of 30, and I was already 23. I decided to become an actor and it turned out to be one of my more intelligent moves.” It was in fact the smarter move for him because Sean Connery went on to play the iconic role of secret agent James Bond and won numerous awards for various movies.

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